EU Digital Framework for Sign Languages: deaf people can boost their job opportunities!
Our guest today is Dr. Petyo Budakov – founder of Budakov Films Ltd and a visiting professor at XU University of Applied Sciences, Germany. His company Budakov Films is involved as a partner in to the European consortium “EU Digital Framework for Sign Languages” is an Erasmus+” (Erasmus+ co-funded project 2020-1-IT01KA202-008386), where seven organizations across Europe have been working on developing a database providing at least 500 lemmas in international sign language related to the lexical domain of digital and ICT.
Q: Dr. Budakov, could you please explain a little bit more about the Erasmus+ co-funded project “EU Digital Framework for Sign Languages”?
PB: First of all, this is a fantastic European initiative, whereas our company is privileged to partner within six more EU-based organizations: our highly-experienced lead organization - Turin Institute for the Deaf (IT), Equalizent (AT), APEA, Portuguese Association of Supported Employment (PT), Fundación Tecnología Social (ES), Emphasys Centre (CY), and the European Digital Learning Network (IT).
The main goal of the project is to develop a database providing at least 500 lemmas in international sign language related to the lexical domain of digital and ICT. As a result, hearing impaired individuals will have the opportunity to expand their skills and knowledge at an era where digital competences have become an essential requirement in today’s job market. Anyway, in Bulgaria we are kindly supported by our associated partner - the Union of the Deaf in Bulgaria (UDB/SGB) and I’d like to take this great opportunity to express my sincere gratitude to them for their devotion, extremely professional approach and invaluable support.
Q: Can you please shed some light about the public that you are addressing?
PB: Deaf and hard-of hearing people are our main target audience. It is a lesser known fact that more than 50% of the 1 million deaf people in Europe are unemployed, and those who are employed are often in low-skilled and low-paid jobs. Hence, we aim at successfully integrating our target audience into the job market. In a nutshell, through our project results we enable deaf and hard-of-hearing people to get an access to digital jobs and professional VET programs in ICT: this is severely affected by the lack of proper field-specific terminology in the different sign languages, although the rising trend in deaf entrepreneurship within the digital and ICT sector.
Anyway, besides the above-mentioned public, we aim to reach some progressive employers, managers and leaders active in digital and ICT who are willing to increase their business’ integration, attract D/deaf talents and create an accessible and equitable working community and environment. In addition, we also work closely with VET trainers, teachers and facilitators dealing with D/deaf learners in digital and ICT related fields.
Q: Since you are talking for an Erasmus+ co-funded project, it would be interesting to introduce our public with the planned tangible results?
PB: Sure! Due to the course of implementation, we have been producing the following three results: the first outcome is entitled “IS language framework for digital and ICT”. It aims to develop a comprehensive language framework for international sign (IS) focused on the digital and ICT field. This language framework that we have developed comprises of a directory formed by more than 500 words and phrases from the digital and ICT sector.
The second result is named “E-glossary and knowledge sharing platform”, where we are developing the e-glossary and a digital learning platform that will host the educational contents produced by the partnership.
Last but not least, the third intellectual output “Guidelines for the inclusion of D/deaf workers in ICT settings” will aim at developing a document laying down the guidelines for the inclusion of d/deaf workers in professional settings, as a result of the project experience complemented by the expertise of the partners and the view of the target groups/stakeholders involved.
Q: How people who are interested to join and follow your initiatives may reach out to your consortium?
PB: Whether you are a deaf /hard-of-hearing person or an employer who is willing to recruit, please, have a lot at our engaging website at: https://digitalsignlanguage.eu or to drop a line to our very supportive coordinator: ISTITUTO DEI SORDI DI TORINO an Italian leading institution with an extensive experience in dealing with the problems of deaf and hard-of hearing people. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
In addition, we are very active in Facebook and Instagram as well @eu_digitalsignlanguage
*Special thanks to Ms. Carolina Carotta from ISTITUTO DEI SORDI DI TORINO (Italy) for her invaluable support regarding all project dissemination activities including also this article.
*This project has been funded with support from the European Commission. This communication reflects the views only of the author, and the Commission cannot be held responsible for any use which may be made of the information contained therein. “EU DIGITAL FRAMEWORK FOR SIGN LANGUAGES” project number: 2020-1-IT01KA202-008386